In Blogging On submitted on 9 December 2009, I explained that I initially persuaded myself I was doing this blogging to better my ability on the computer and improve my writing skills, in as much as the discipline of churning out 1000 words plus almost daily would help me with construction and quality and also help form a personalised style of writing. My computer skills have not improved, I cannot fight my way out of a paper bag when it comes to using the tools provided on the screen, because it relies on memory and has you go down the hill on the other side of life that particular gift of immediate memory becomes lost. However I have now relaxed into a particular style; I suppose one could say it was light, emotional, cynical and humerous. I have also conquered, for the time being, the discipline of writing 1000 words every day on whatever topic comes to mind. At the moment, after 21 or 22 of these blogs, I am not stuck for a subject, in that regard my religion has helped me considerably. The quality of my writing is to subjective for me to consider, however practice must improve it, practice and reading. The more you read the better to analyse the skills of the writer. So I do both and hopefully will improve. I do not, of course, aspire to be as good as my favourite wordsmith, the late John McGahern, who could paint a wonderful scene in a 100 words, which would take me 400 to write badly and never of course within a million miles of the quality of the Leitrim master. As regards construction some blogs just fly off the pen and at the end make reasonable sense, whilst others have to have an amount of planning and prethinking. I suppose it depends on the emotion and knowledge required as to how well the piece is fabricated.
All this daydreaming came about because yesterday evening I met a friend for a pint and a gossip and immediately he started buttering me up and telling me how much he enjoyed reading my journal and how he wished he could write because his head was bursting with ideas and thoughts he needed to relay. Thoughts I have noticed that have raised people’s ire sometimes, ill-considered and possibly immature, the truth perhaps, but often enough the truth is too direct for some. Writing it all down gives you a buffer zone in which to consider the ill-considered.
I told him he was the ideal candidate, start blogging, spit it out, get people on their toes, make ’em think. He is in an occupation where something differs every five minutes, he would never be stuck for a subject. He said no. The thoughts in his head easily come to his tongue but not his pen. I told him to relax, consider and slowly write it down, re-read and edit if he needed to, as it will have more power in the end. But he still said no, he was worried about his spelling, his punctuation, his words, his only basic education. In truth he lacked confidence. So I think high up on the scale of things a writer needs confidence, besides the technical skills discussed. Confidence to sit down alone, understand what you are thinking and put it down in a way that makes sense and you just hope somebody picks it up.
So all you people out there who care and get exasperated with the happenings of the world, get writing, the skills might or might not come but at least it is ordering your mind.
By the way, why is it that when you are your own editor you can read your own stuff 100 times and see that an improving change is needed every time. It reminds me of trying to sharpen a knife that has lost its edge, it will always be blunt. Whereas McGahern used to re-read, edit and rewrite 50 or 60 times before he was satisfied. The difference being that every time he re-wrote, he improved the text until he eventually turned out a jewel.